Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 Hindsight

I don't have a lot to say about 2020 that hasn't been said. I know it was horrible for many, and I hope that 2021 proves to be more fruitful to any who had hardships, whether it be health, financial, or job-related.

I'm fortunate to say that my year was pretty good in the grand scheme of things. My family remained healthy and happy. I got to spend more time with my kids during important ages of their lives than I would have ever dreamed possible. Although I have to say, that feels like a negative at times as well. I think I've hit my family-time quota for the next few years.

Work was busy and rewarding. I feel fortunate about that. While not essential, my line of work does provide people with entertainment and an outlet for tough times. We grew when others cut back.

The last time I physically went to work was on March 9. I have not been into Manhattan, where my office is, since then. And it doesn't appear that I'll be going back soon. Remote work has become the norm, and my dining room table is my new desk. I just wish I invested in a better chair than the cheap I bought on Amazon at the beginning of all this.

Baseball was weird this year, but I applaud MLB - and all other leagues - for figuring out a way to get in or finish a season. I actually liked the season quite a bit. Seven inning double headers were awesome. Each inning felt so important. I did not hate the extra inning runner on second, either. For the regular season, I wouldn't be upset if MLB kept that one.

As for cards, it was a really weird year for me. The best way to describe it was up and down, with short term bursts that kept me interested and occupied. It almost felt like I truly lived into my name as "The Lost Collector", as these quick projects are sort of what kept me going once the store shelves dried up. Not that I am a big retail buyer anyways, but the hobby changed around me, and I changed with it and found projects to make me happy and keep me focused, or at the very least, give me something to do that was card-related.

So with that, here's a bit of my year in review on cards.

My card of the year:
In July, I declared this my card of the year. Nothing knocked it off its perch for me. The card brings me back to the '90s, whose cards continue to pull me in ways that neither current cards nor vintage can.

Basketball rookies I missed:
That love of '90s also pulled me back into collecting some NBA cards, notably of rookie cards of guys I missed after I stopped collecting basketball. Playerss like Vince Carter, Dirk, Paul Pierce, Tim Duncan, and more. I grabbed RCs of current established guys like Lillard and Durant and AD as well. But that was one of my aforementioned few short-term focuses. I'm glad I did that before the card market went insane

Vintage Syracuse lore:
I did dabble in some vintage, but really more of under-appreciated Syracuse legends Floyd Little and Dave Bing. I'm glad I did. It was fun to look at vintage designs I hadn't seen before due to not being familiar with 70's Topps basketball and football products.

Goodbye to TTMs:
One of my biggest shifts in collecting is that I all but said goodbye to TTM autograph collecting, something I had done fairly religiously since this blog kicked off. A few players publicly expressed their displeasure with having mail sent to home and that it was an invasion of privacy. That, and the whole pandemic thing, made me not want to send mail to home addresses of athletes, past or present. So I all but stopped.

Although the one area of TTMing I will keep alive is my Topps Yankees Project, which luckily I was able to check off 2020 when Mike Ford returned a card signed to me. I now have a signed Yankees Topps card from every year, 1951-2020.

Hello Project 2020:
I started off as skeptical about Project 2020 as anyone, but once I got my first Derek Jeter card, I decided to give it a go and collected the full run of all twenty of his cards. Expensive? Sure. But it's not like I was buying a blaster a month or anything. The set should be collected any way someone sees fit, whether that means one card, or all 400, despite the opinions of those who will tell you on how this set should be collected. 

The varieties are endless. I know some who bought one card from each artist, and will display 20 different players from 20 different artists. I know some who collected entire runs of teams or players. Some picked and choosed here and there based on simply liking a card. Some bought none and at and wanted to brag about that.

Me? I got all 20 Jeters directly from Topps, and supplemented a few more on eBay for much more affordable costs. There are lot for under $5. I even split a lot of Don C. Ripkens with Napkin Doon!

I definitely have my favorite artists of the bunch. I have some I wasn't a fan of. I think a few artists were out to lunch and had no idea what they were doing at the start. But I sure do respect anyone willing to put their art out there, and I admire the work done by these men and women.

TCDB emerges:
I started using the Trading Card Database in 2019, but it took off for me in 2020. I completed over 100 PWE trades. It has been a fun way to add a few new Tino cards, as well as 2020 Yankees that I wasn't able to find in stores or by ordering online.

Tino hits 1K, and beyond:
Last but not least, my favorite collecting achievement this year was when I hit 1,000 unique Tino cards a few months ago. And since Tino found his way into the likes of Allen & Ginter (and all its spinoffs), as well as Topps Update, my collection has continued to grow. I now sit at an even 1,050!

I'm sure I'm missing a few things from collecting cards in 2020. But the year came and went, and I'm still here. I appreciated a few trades with friends old and new, and receiving cards 'just because.' I enjoy being able to share the hobby here, and I look forward to celebrating this blog's 10th birthday in a few weeks.

Thanks for reading and being a part of my small corner of the collecting world. I wish you and your families the best in 2021!


  1. I am happy to hear that your year wasn't bad. (mine was okay too). May 2021 be a blessing.

  2. All things considered, sounds like you had a nice year collecting and otherwise. I love seeing all the positives among all the challenges. I really enjoyed following your quest for 1000 unique Tino Martinez cards on your blog and Twitter this year. That is an awesome achievement!

  3. Looks like a really successful year. Here is hoping that 2021 is a lot better! You definitely have inspired me to try out TCDB trading! Happy New Year!

  4. Glad you made it through 2020 relatively unscathed! I posted about Topps 2020 today too - definitely a nice set that I wish I had maybe given more of a chance/thought as it was being released. Happy 2021!

  5. I love how many bloggers are turning to TCDB. It's helped me organize my collection thought I'm not ready to trade there yet. I don't have the extra time which allows me to be connected to the transaction manager. It's great to know your year was manageable and lacking in unhappy surprises. Congrats on Tino 1000! I'll have new pick pockets up in February. Hope to see you there. :)

  6. I'm glad to hear 2020 was pleasant for you in many ways. Glad you've managed to pivot in your collecting habits as well. Good post and I like that A&G Martinez. Happy New Year!

  7. Nice wrap-up of your year. I haven't completed a trade on TCDB mostly because I have nothing to offer and I've not found it easy to figure out. Probably says more about me than the site, though. Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and safe 2021 for you and your family---card collecting and biological.

  8. Glad to hear that you had an overall positive 2020. Congratulations on reaching 1k Tinos. That's awesome. I love VC's Topps rookie card. That's such an awesome action shot. I'm bummed that they've started soaring in prices, because I'd love to grab the Chrome rookie card. I'm sitting on an unopened box of that stuff... but I doubt I'll ever bust it and risk not pulling that card.

  9. Love those 'The Man' cards, good pick. One day I will get one! I love TCDB, but have not gotten the time and energy to really make use of it. Maybe next year!

  10. Great recap of 2020. It looks like you had a pretty solid go. Congrats!

  11. Happy New Year!

    I’m completely with you on the family time quota, I’ve learned a level of patience I never thought I had. Also, the dining table has been my’s the most that table has ever been used.

    Have a great start to 2021!!

  12. I think that a lot of people out there would've loved to have had the year that you had :)

  13. Love your Syracuse connection - happy new year!